American Go E-Journal

Ali Jabarin Wins Amsterdam International; Historic Euro-Korean Go Battle Remembered

Sunday June 8, 2014

Ali Jabarin 6d of Israel took the 2014 Amsterdam International Go Tournament main, centerpiece of Amsterdam Go Together 2014, with five wins out of six. It was played Friday May 30 – Sunday June 1 at the European Go Cultural Centre (EGCC), Amstelveen in the Netherlands (Holland) and Jabarin was only beaten by Zhao Baolong 2p of China who won all six rounds but, as a professional, took part out-of-competition. In second-equal place, with four wins each, came Pavol Lisy 7d of Slovakia, Yong-Su Yu 7d of Korea (pictured), Christian Pop 7d of Romania, Kim Paolo 7d of Korea and Csaba Mérő 6d of Hungary. Click here for full results, and here to connect with the EGCC’s Facebook account for more photos.

Pavol Lisy had also qualified as a pro the day before the main tournament after winning Stage 2 of the 1st Euro Pro Qualification (see Pavol Lisy First European Pro,- EJ, 7/1), a competition in which all the Europeans mentioned above have been participants, and for which Zhao has been professional coach, along with compatriot Li Ting 1p. Lisy’s new status will not, however, come into effect until August 1. Jabarin – along with Mateusz Surma 6d of Poland, Lukáš Podpera 6d of Czechia and Cornel Burzo 6d of Romania – is also still in the running to gain professional status by winning two further knockout rounds at Vienna on June 20.

Former Korean Amateur Champion Yong-Su Yu was a special guest at the event and well-known to the veterans there, as during the eighties he lived in the Cologne area in Germany and won the Amsterdam International every year from 1985-89. “I cannot [be] very content with the result in this Amsterdam go tournament,” he said, “but it’s not very bad. The top players in Europe are much stronger than I thought.” He also praised the hospitality he and his group, led by best friend Kim Paolo, had received and said, “Everyone in the Dutch Go Association [Federation] was so kind to us”.

In 1985 Yong-Su demonstrated the superiority of Korean amateurs in that era when he played a celebrated nine-game match, winning 7-2, against then Dutch and European Champion Ronald Schlemper 7d, a go prodigy who had come to dominate the game in Holland and who had won the European Championship twice already at that point (and has three times in all). The match, which featured games in the three Dutch towns of Leeuwarden, Arnhem and Tilburg, was sponsored by Dutch insurance company Interpolis, who published a book about it at the time, with game analysis by other Dutch amateurs.

Now one of Yong-Su’s party, Lee Kwang-Ku 3d, who is a journalist for Korean-language weekly Ilyo Shinmun and author of a three-volume book on modern Korean go, is also planning to write a book about the match with Korean professional commentary on at least some of the games. Schlemper, who these days lives in Japan, will be interviewed for the book too, which it is hoped will also be produced in an English-language edition. Photographer and sometime board member of the Dutch Go Federation Harry van der Krogt, now Financial Director of the EGCC, was the initiator of the match and following the Amsterdam tournament he has – by way of research for the book – traveled with Yong-Su, Kim and Lee to Arnhem to revisit the Hotel Groot Warnsborn (right), the only one of the match locations still standing. He told the E-Journal the hotel and surrounding park “made a great impression on me in 1985 [...] and now in 2014 it has not lost any of its charm“. It was also Yong-Su’s favourite location of the three: “Arnhem was the best place from three because maybe……..I could have a good time with Dutch go players…….drink….chatter. I could win all three games…..”.

Report by Tony Collman; photos by Harry van der Krogt: (from top) Yong-Su Yu at the Amsterdam International 2014; playing in the 9-game match with Schlemper in 1985; (L-R) Lee Kwang-Ku, Yong-Su Yu, Kim Paolo at the Hotel Groot Warnsborn.

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